Filling out applications can be a time-consuming and arduous process, but you can also make it a really creative and exhilarating project. It’s a way for you to show an admissions office who you really are and what you are passionate about. It is also an opportunity to reflect on all that you have accomplished and experienced in high school.
Think about it. You’re about to end your high school career, and as you gaze into your bright college future, admissions offices are asking you to reflect on your past—on what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown. Have fun with the application. Yes, we said “fun” in the same sentence as “application.” Have fun, and when you click the “submit” button or seal the envelope, feel confident that the application is a true and polished reflection of who you are as a student.
To help you through the process, here are a few dos and don’ts:
Proofread your entire application (not just the essays) for spelling errors or grammatical mistakes.
Leave words misspelled; leave “I” in lowercase (as in “i went to school.”); forget to change the name of a school in an essay when you are using the same essay to apply to multiple schools.
|Include an e-mail address that is appropriate and professional. If your personal e-mail address is a little too casual, then you can create a new one for free using any number of popular e-mail providers. You can then use this account just for college communication.||Use your personal e-mail address if it is inappropriate. Oftentimes, your e-mail address is one of the first things an admissions officer will see. You might not want email@example.com to make that first impression.|
|Infuse your application with your own voice, beliefs, and unique reflections.||Treat your application like a MySpace profile. Your application should be a vivid portrait of you, but not a casual one.|
|Do your research on the opportunities available at a specific school before you answer the question, “Why do you want to go to ______ college?”||Copy and paste the same answer to the question, “Why do you want to go to ______ college” for every college you apply to.|
|Pay attention to word, character, and space limits.||Write more than the word limit, character limit, or space will allow. Any words written beyond this limit will be lost in application outer space.|
|Write essays that will reflect your voice and your unique perspective. Write about things that interest you.||Write essays that you think will please or impress an admissions officer.|
|Be specific when describing your activities. Remember that activities include things you do both inside and outside of school. Work, church involvement, caring for siblings, and caring for family members are all things that count as activities, and we want to hear about them.||Assume we will know what an acronym means or will know that you were a leader in a club/group if you don’t tell us. If you can’t fit an appropriate explanation into the activities chart of an application, you can use the additional information section to elaborate.|
|Brag about yourself. Tell us everything you have accomplished, and don’t spare us the details. We want to hear it all.||Be too humble and feel embarrassed about detailing you achievements, awards, honors, and leadership opportunities.|
|Write meaty essays within the word, character, or space limits.||
Write only one or two sentences and call it an essay.